Good Good Father

I gave a talk at a women’s retreat this weekend and we sang a song called Good Good Father. It is easy to know that your Father God is good when your Earthly father is nothing but kind and loving. I am thankful for and admire men who are the reflection of the Good Good Father– men who keep their vows and commitments, love their wives and children, pay their child support, keep their visitation dates with their kids……. but most of all who choose to follow the Good Good Father who created us all.

I have no excuse to be anything but kind and loving because of the love poured out to me by the men in my life.
An Uncle
A brother-in-law
A father-in-law
Family friends
And especially my husband and my own good good father.

I was surrounded by so many broken hearts this weekend– broken relationships. We are all broken people. What I learned was that fathers have the power to change the world, not perfect fathers, but fathers who are present in their children’s lives. Fathers who show up.

Mothers are so important. I am one. I know my role is important. It is so much easier for a girl to know she has worth when the father in her life treats her like a precious gem.

Thirty minutes before I gave my talk at this retreat, my precious mom whom I adore handed me a necklace from my father– an act of love that tells me I have worth. I am forever grateful for my earthly Good Good Father.

To all: you have a Good Good Father
He created you and loves you. You just have to believe it.

Psalm 139:13-14
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

Thank you for my necklace, Dad! I love you!
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For Kim – How to Keep Your Goldfish Alive

A much anticipated Zionsville Indiana Community yearly event in September is what is known as the Fall Festival. With carnival rides, food venders, local merchant booths, parade, it is a celebration of early fall that for me was always another marker of the passing years with my boys. The rides, the cheap stuffed animal prizes, the elephant ears, were part of the experience, but, oh, to win a goldfish. When I read a Facebook post from a mom asking advice on how to keep a goldfish alive, I remembered Goldy and the many others. You may not want to read the rest of this because if you follow my simple instructions you will be a slave to your fall festival fishy for years. I can kill a plant in minutes, but give me a goldfish and I am cursed or blessed with a “gold thumb.” With all the carnival noises playing in the background I would cringe each time I saw that ping pong ball plop in that little fish bowl and think here we go again as we would leave the fall festival with kettle corn in one hand and and at least one fish being sloshed around in its temporary tiny house – plastic bag.
There were many casualties and toilet bowl funeral flushings over the years. Some just simply don’t survive the hardship of carnival life. Then there was Goldy lovingly adored by my oldest son for about 24 hours after the thrill of the win and painstakingly kept alive for 7 years by me because I cannot kill even a bug. Goldy would probably still be alive today if I hadn’t made the fatal mistake of filling the bowl up almost to the brim once. To my horror Goldy came to a tragic end when I walked in my son’s room to find him not monotonously swimming around in that bowl as usual but partially dried out gasping on the carpeted floor. I scooped him up and quickly rescued him to his watery home where he bravely fought and lived three more days. No tears were shed for Goldy, but my heart ached a little as I watched my middle school aged son run out the door and I alone flushed Goldy to heaven- another marker of time. That is what Goldy and the others were to me- markers of time raising three boys that passed too quickly. Yes, I know the secret to keeping a goldfish alive. My advice- stop reading here and go out and just get a puppy. But if you insist on knowing, here is the secret.

1. Get a plain wide mouthed bowl. No tank with filter. The key is the wide opening at the top.
2. Take an empty gallon milk jug and fill with tap water. Let that water sit with no lid on it for a week. Use that water to replace the old water. The key is to let the tap water sit open for a few days.
3. Change the water about weekly.
4. Remember to feed it.
5. When you go on vacation, there are these dissolving self feeders.
6. That’s it!

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Coach

Coach

My family celebrated my mom’s 80th birthday this weekend in Nashville, TN. It was my mom’s idea because my mom is fun. She is a grandma of 4 grandsons. She is the mom of two daughters. She is the wife of one husband.

My mom is a fairly private person about her own childhood. That is because it was not picture perfect. What I will share are the words I would use to describe her mother (my grandma) — loving, kind, strong, independent, steadfast, role model, survivor. I do not have any words for her father. I do not know him. From what I hear, he was not a nice man. I call my mom and her two siblings silent survivors because all three emerged from a childhood of tension to become people who are loving and kind. I have always admired my mom for her lack of bitterness towards her own father. I’m sure she would tell me it is her Heavenly Father who fills that gap. My mom is a woman of strong faith in Jesus.

If you look at my mom’s high school and college year books you will see pictures of her as a cheerleader — a role she carried on into her adult life as she married a man who for decades was a high school basketball coach. Most people think of her as that cheerleader sitting in that basketball gym in the stands, and in many ways that is how I see her — an encourager in the stands of my life always cheering me on.

But I’m sure my dad would agree with me, my mom ain’t sitting on no sidelines just cheering us on. (My mom was a high school grammar teacher. That is going to make her cringe! Lol) My mom IS our coach.

I would call her my life coach. She wore the whistle in our family. My mom is the best of any good coach who pushes her players and tries to get the best out of them. My dad and sister I know would agree with me, we are who we are today because of our mom. Words to describe my mom are the same ones that I used to describe her mother — loving, kind, strong, independent, steadfast, role model, survivor. I can only hope that someone will say those words about me some day. I am fortunate to have been coached by the best.

Connie Milhollland, you are dearly loved by this family. Every day you cheer us on, we want you to know we are grateful for you, Coach!

Love you always,
Your Team

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Red Shoes

(This is a continuation of the post from 6/3/17 titled Meet Lorisa.)

They are Lorisa’s favorite– her red high top tennis shoes. You see them somewhere on almost every page of the book. When they are on her feet — always untied.
There is a the back story about red shoes. Lori’s oldest boy played little league baseball like many boys do when they are seven and eight years old, but you will not hear of his name in the MLB because it was soon discovered that his gift was numbers and baseball stats. He is a successful financial consultant today. Oh, but he did have a pair of coveted red baseball shoes that he passed down to my oldest boy two years younger. My oldest wore the flashy red shoes for one year of little league. He soon realized that baseball was not for him the day the coach had to yell out to him in the outfield “take the glove off your head!” Today he volunteers his attention and time to young kids through the Big Brother program who are also at times are being told “to take the glove off your head.”

Next, the red shoes were handed down to my middle child. They were actually a size too big and flopped on his feet the first year he wore them. However, the minute he put them on and a teammate said “cool,” it was like those shoes were magic. He wore them for the next two years until the rubber cleats were completely worn down. You will not find his name in the MLB either. He traded his passion for baseball for a career as a sales analyst. Lori and I share cherished stories of a little boy who looked up to his older brother and older family friend so much and insisted on wearing red shoes a size too big for him. He was even nicknamed “Red Shoes” for a few years.

So as you read the pages of NOT YET and see a cute little girl proudly wearing her high top tennis shoes, you now know the precious memories that Lori and I share of “red shoes.”

Why are Lorisa’s shoes always untied …… because “she’s not quite there yet. She’ll get there. You bet!”

NOT YET….. coming soon!

By:  Lisa Cox & Lori Hockema

 

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Meet Lorisa

Labrador Retriever + Poodle = Adorable Dog Called Labradoodle.

Lori + Lisa = Adorable Girl Called Lorisa.

Who is Lorisa? Lorisa is the main character of the book cowritten by my dear friend Lori and me. Lorisa is a labor of love created by a friendship that has stood the test of time. For me, Lorisa represents determination, faithfulness, loyalty, sacrifice, belief and love– all of the characteristics that I have witnessed in my cowriter over the years. Lorisa has the boldness and spunk that I see in Lori and the scattered idealism that I see in me.

We hope that Lorisa teaches children to believe in themselves and enjoy the process of growing up. Lorisa has what is called a growth mindset which basically means that she believes that her efforts matter. Her motto in the book– Am I there? Not Yet. I’ll get there. You bet!

Lorisa has taught me to believe that I have purpose and to enjoy the process of living. Lorisa has taught me to dream big, work hard, and not focus on my limitations.

We did not draw Lorisa. We worked with a fabulous illustrator who kept going back to the “drawing board” until Lorisa emerged as we envisioned her in our minds.

Who is Lori? If you had the privilege of having Mrs. Hockema as a teacher, you will never forget her. She most assuredly is on your list of favorites. As a classroom teacher, she was dynamic and passionate about her students and profession. She gave her all. She still does in all her endeavors.

Over the next couple of weeks I will slowly tell you more about Lorisa. It is going to be an incredible journey as we introduce her to you. How do I know this? — because the process of writing this book has already been incredible and fascinating.

Retired Teacher + Retired School Counselor = Two Friends with Many Stories to Tell

Adorable girl character + Adorable dog character =
Book Coming Soon Titled NOT YET

………Is it here? NOT YET
It will get here. You bet!

Coming soon!

NOT YET
Lisa Cox and Lori Hockema

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Dear World,

Dear World,

I am warning you things are changing. The way we look at the word disability is fighting to change. At this time I know a 17 year old girl with Down’s who hosts her own cooking show. Another girl with this characteristic is applying at some of the most prestigious colleges in our country. In this video, my little Bella doesn’t see her Cerebral Palsy. She sees her self as a strong fighter, as she should.

World, you have to change. Some of us may do things differently than the typical person, but we are fighting. We matter, everyone of us.

And if you find yourself with the opportunity to assist us in some way, be thankful. You will most likely learn a great deal from our strength and from our challenges.

If you find yourself spending time with us, you will know a deeper meaning of life. You will have more compassion. You will wrestle with your own perception of what is important in life– and the lines drawn in the sand of what is a disability may just get blurred and forgotten. You might see us not as a person with Down’s, CP, Autism, Parkinson’s, ALS, etc. You might see us as the girl with curly hair. The boy who is funny. The mom who writes. You may find that it is fun to spend time with us.

World, We are fighters. Like Bella in this video, we will not rest until you see and know us for who we are. And when you finally open your eyes, you will see how boring the world would be without us.

World, We are not broken. You are. We were fearfully and wonderfully made, just like everyone one that inhabits you. World, don’t ignore us. Being ignored is the worst pain.

From One who who sometimes acts like she is from another planet,
Lisa

More Than Running Up the Score

 

img_5374.pngWhat can you say about a dad who has shown you such unconditional love all your life? How do you express your gratitude for a man who has pointed you to the way of faith by his leadership of his family? What can you do for a man who gives and gives and gives to his grandchildren, children, community? It’s hard to give him gifts because he is content with a simple pair of khaki pants, blue v-neck sweater, and always the brown leather loafers on his feet– a man of well-groomed, simple tastes.

My dad’s best attribute and funniest to share is his constant giving. He is a giver.

When my middle son was in 2nd Grade, the class went on a field trip to see The Nutcracker. My Tyler was intrigued by nutcrackers and asked for one at Christmas. I could not find a cheap one, so I asked my dad to look for one at a sale. My dad is a avid antique collector. Well, he found one. In fact, in line with how he does things, he found 40. Tyler got 40 nutcrackers for Christmas that year.

When I started co-writing music a few years ago, I asked him to look for a cheap guitar or piano keyboard. I got one. I got two. The girl with little musical sense who really only needs a pen and paper to co-write music, now owns 5 guitars, a mandolin, 2 keyboards, a French horn, a trombone, and an accordion that is bigger than me. I stopped him from buying the clarinet!

I could go on and on with these stories of giving that make me laugh and warm my heart. It’s how he loves us, and he does it well.

My dad grew up poor. I’ve heard the story countless times. “When I went to college, all I had with me was a paper sack on my lap with all I owned.” He had a passion and talent that got him to college. He could shoot the lights out of a basketball. And that is the life I have always known– basketball. From his college’s Hall of Fame and All Century Team to To His induction into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach, my dad found his way “running up the score.”

However, that’s not my dad. He may be a fierce competitor on the court, but off the court you will see a gentle man walking a little fluff white dog that he adores. His love for animals is a part of his charm.

So, in the only way I know how to express my love for my dad, “Dad, here are your song lyrics. You have taught me that life is ‘more Than Running Up the score!'”

More Than Running Up the Score

V1
Old rusted hoop Nailed to a pole
In a dirt backyard court so long ago
hours rehearsing for that final scene
The last second shot that goes in clean
He battles the neighbors living next door
Bring it shooting hoops 4 on 4
This is how he thought life would be
Always Fighting for victory

V2
Teenage years brought lots of praise
In College his records still stand today
he coached his own high school team for years
Each Friday night the crowd went wild with cheers
the trophies came and the small town fame
Everybody knew his name
But he found victory in a different place
Through the years relied on grace

V3
On Sundays he hears the church bells ring
The hymns of old he loves to sing
Faith is the victory he was searching for
So much more than running up the score

Chorus
what he learned outside that gym floor
Life was so much more
so much score
Than running up the score
so much more
Than running up that score

http://www.hoopshall.com/hall-of-fame/john-milholland/?back=HallofFame